Information on Becoming a Foster Parent
In Ontario, foster care is highly regulated by the provincial government and regulations pertaining to foster care are embodied in legislation. Agencies providing foster care, such as Terrace Youth Residential Services, are licensed by the province of Ontario, and must meet the regulations as set out in legislation. What this means for individuals and families interested in providing foster care for a child, is that they must be deemed to be suitable to foster in relation to a number of standards. It is the role of the service provider (Terrace Youth Residential Services) to assess suitability. The process of becoming a foster parent involves a number of phases. This is referred to as a homestudy. The entire process can be quite lengthy—likely several weeks or as much as 3 to 4 months, depending on circumstances. You will be required to provide a good deal of information about yourself and your situation. At times, the process and some of the questions asked may feel intrusive. Please keep in mind, that what will be asked of you is intended to ensure that your home can be designated as a “place of safety”and that fostering is right for your family. Terrace Youth Residential Services is commited to working together with you to make the process as comfortable, interesting, and informative as possible.
Application and Homestudy Process
You have already initiated the application process by expressing your interest in fostering. In follow up to your inquiry, you will have been contacted by telephone. Hopefully, this telephone discussion will have provided an opportunity to address some of the questions you may have about fostering and what is involved. If you decided to take the next step, you will be visited in your home and the homestudy process will formally begin. As part of the homestudy process you will be asked to:
- Complete an application form and complete a detailed personal questionnaire
- Meet for discussion with the home assessment worker on a number of occasions over a period of weeks. Discussions will involve both individual and family interviews.
- Provide us with a criminal record check for all adult members of the family (those over 18 year of age)
- Provide permission for us to conduct a Child Welfare record check
- Undergo a medical examination by your General Practitioner and provide a report
- Provide information pertaining to your financial circumstances
- Provide the names of three individuals who will act as a reference for you
- Make your home available for a safety inspection and make any necessary adjustments that are deemed necessary i.e. providing a locked cupboard for toxic materials
The homestudy process is a mutual assessment--you will decide if fostering is right for you, and Terrace will determine your suitability at this time in your life. At any point in the homestudy process, it may be determined by you or by Terrace Youth Residential Services that the process should be drawn to a close prior to the completion of the study. A decision to do so should not be considered a failure, but rather as the right decision at the time.
Following the completion of your homestudy, a meeting will be held at Terrace Youth Residential Services. The focus of that meeting will be to determine whether or not you will be approved to provide foster care, and if so, whether or not there are any special considerations. If approved, recommendations will be made pertaining to the age, gender and needs profile for children who will be referred to your home. You will quickly be informed of the outcome of the meeting. Approval will generally mean that you are ready to welcome a child into your home. You will be asked to sign a contract with Terrace Youth Residential Services which will set out terms and conditions of our working partnership.
What supports can you expect as a Foster Parent with Terrace Youth Residential Services?
Once you are approved to provide foster care, Terrace Youth Residential Services will provide you with a number of supports. These include:
Financial: A non taxable per diem for each day that a child is placed in your home and on occasion, reimbursement for extraordinary expenses
Staffing: A Foster Care coordinator will work with you and will be the person with whom you most regularly communicate. The coordinator will provide ongoing support by meeting with you regularly, by helping to find satisfactory solutions to challenges that may arise, by attending plans of care and other meetings as needed, and by providing informal training.
A Child and Youth Worker will be assigned to work with you and the child(ren) in your care. For each child placed with you, there will be an allocation of 9 hours per week of support from a Child & Youth worker. The worker will assist with meeting the needs of the child, you and Terrace and may be used in a number of ways i.e. attending and/or supervising access visits, providing relief, accompanying child to appointments, completing required administrative tasks etc.
On-Call: Terrace provides an “On Call” system so that should you need to, you can reach a member of staff anytime outside of normal business hours.
Training: Training will be provided formally and informally to assist you in developing your skills as a foster parent.